Working from an office in the historic Byward Market of Ottawa, Jonathan Simon and the rest of the team at Magmic are quietly producing mobile games for iconic brands like Mattel, Hasbro, and Rubik’s Cube.
Business didn’t always look so promising. During the 2008 recession, the Canadian publisher and developer had to downsize from 110 employees and four floors to just 55 and one floor. But Magmic worked its magic, and today has over 100 original and licensed games under its name.
We caught up with Director of Marketing Jonathan Simon to chat about how the studio successfully monetized both IP-based and original games.
Meeting business goals, making players happy
Like most developers, Magmic used to rely on static and interstitial ads in its free-to-play titles. But as a ‘curator of brands’ balancing its partners’ business goals against user preferences, Magmic had to beat the average ad implementation. “Players don’t like being interrupted, but at the end of the day we also needed to make licensors happy by making money,” says Simon.
The solution came in the form of rewarded video ads. Magmic first experimented with rewarded in 2015, and once it began to scale up with the format in 2016, players started speaking up. “Users don’t complain about rewarded like they do with other ads. Quite the opposite,” says Simon. “The major feedback we hear from players is ‘We want more!’ and ‘How come I can’t watch more ads?’”
Magmic has plans to deliver. Simon and his team are toying with mechanics that really do allow users to watch as many ads as they want. “Everybody understands this will only add to overall revenue, and we can find new ways to push it forward and get buy-in across the board. It will happen this year,” says Simon.
Advice for other devs
One of Magmic’s first innovations with rewarded ads was a tool that can seamlessly turn ads on or off within different game mechanics or for different user segments. “We’re constantly testing to see what works with our users and what doesn’t work for different segments,” says Simon.
Investing time into optimization has allowed Magmic to reap above-average returns. Magmic’s version of the Hasbro game Scattergories, for example, puts an ad above payment options within the game’s store. Some developers fear that placing ads above or beside IAP will sour players on in-app purchases, but Magmic’s tool can prove this isn’t the case. “Cannibalization is one of the biggest myths,” says Simon. “If someone really wants to spend money, they’ll spend money. The people who don’t, you need to give them a way.”
Magmic has proven that rewarded video ads increase monetization, retention, and player experience. Tapjoy offers multiple ways to integrate rewarded ads, as well as free consultations for developers who want to leverage the power of rewarded ads.